By: Jory D. Lange, Jr.

The outbreak of Salmonella linked to Papayas has now expanded to 173 confirmed cases. Two more states have been added to the affected, and two additional strains of Salmonella have been linked. The CDC and FDA continue to advise that people not to eat any Maradol papayas imported from the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico. These papayas are sold under multiple brand names and more brands may be identified.

The CDC announced today that 34 more people have become ill with salmonella food poisoning as result of eating papayas contaminated with salmonella.  Four separate strains of salmonella are involved in this outbreak.   Of these, 111 people have been infected with Salmonella Thompson, 51 people have been infected with Salmonella Kiambu, 7 people have been infected with Salmonella Agona, and 4 people have been infected with Salmonella Gaminara. The earliest reported illness began on May 17, 2017.  The most recent reported illness began on July 31, 2017.  The youngest person sickened is just 1 year old.  The oldest person affected is 95 years old.

The Salmonella Papaya Outbreak

The CDC reports that 173 people in 21 states have been infected with outbreak strains of Salmonella:

  • 50 people in New York;
  • 36 people in New Jersey;
  • 16 people in Virginia;
  • 9 people in Texas;
  • 8 people in Maryland;
  • 8 people in Massachusetts;
  • 8 people in Pennsylvania;
  • 6 people in Connecticut;
  • 5 people in North Carolina;
  • 4 people in Oklahoma;
  • 4 people in Delaware;
  • 4 people in Kentucky;
  • 4 people in Minnesota;
  • 3 people in Illinois;
  • 2 people in Iowa;
  • 1 person in Louisiana;
  • 1 person in Michigan;
  • 1 person in Missouri;
  • 1 person in Ohio;
  • 1 person in Tennessee; and
  • 1 person in Wisconsin.

Of these, 58 people have been hospitalized. 1 person in New York City has died. It is a possibility that more illnesses may be identified, as illnesses that occurred after July 18, 2017, might not be reported yet. It takes an average of two to four weeks to identify all of the illnesses, due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

The CDC and FDA have concluded that this outbreak likely began with Maradol papayas grown at the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico.  Papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm are sold under multiple brand names.  Three papaya brands have been recalled so far in this outbreak, including:  Caribena brand papayas distributed by Grande Produce; Valery brand papayas, distributed by Freshtex Produce; and certain Cavi brand papayas distributed by Agroson’s.

The CDC and FDA contend that it is likely that more brands may become linked to the outbreak.

CDC Recommendations to Consumers

Regarding papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm, the CDC recommends that consumers not eat them, restaurants not serve them, and stores not sell them.  Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm are sold under the Caribena, Cavi, and Valery brand names.  The CDC has further recommended that consumers avoid eating any yellow Maradol papayas from Mexico at this time because they believe more brands may be identified. As the investigation contains, it is possible that additional brands may be identified.

The CDC advises consumers and businesses: “When in doubt . . . throw them out.”

It is important to wash and sanitize refrigerator drawers and shelves and countertops where the papayas were stored.  Each of these surfaces can become contaminated with Salmonella.

Maradol Papayas have a green skin.  As the fruit ripens, the skin turns yellow.  They are oval, large, and tend to weigh three pounds or more.  The flesh inside the fruit is salmon-colored.

The CDC advises anyone who still has these papayas in their homes to dispose of them immediately.

The Recalled Papayas

This Salmonella outbreak has produced three separate recalls, so far:

  • Grande Produce recalled its Caribena Maradol papayas on July 26th. Caribena brand papayas have a red, green, and yellow sticker.
  • Agronson’s recalled certain Cavi brand papayas on August 5th. Cavi brand papayas have a purple, green, and black sticker with “Cavi MEXICO 4395” written in white letters.
  • Freshtex Produce recalled Valery brand papayas on August 7th. Valery brand papayas have a red, yellow, and green sticker with “Valery” in yellow letters.

How Many People Get Salmonellosis?

Salmonella bacteria cause Salmonellosis. Salmonellosis is one of the most common foodborne illnesses.  The CDC estimates that each year, 1,200,000 Americans become ill with Salmonella food poisoning.  Approximately 19,000 people are hospitalized and 450 Americans die each year from Salmonellosis.

What Are the Symptoms of Salmonella?

Salmonellosis symptoms typically begin 12 to 72 hours after infection.  Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.  Salmonellosis symptoms generally last 4 to 7 days.  Diarrhea and dehydration can be so severe that hospitalization becomes necessary.  Infants, older adults, and people with impaired immune systems are at the highest risk.  Some people develop reactive arthritis.

Robins Cloud Investigates, Helps Victims

Robins Cloud LLP is a national law firm dedicated to helping families who have been harmed by corporate wrongdoing. For over 25 years, our lawyers have helped families who have been harmed by products with hidden dangers.  Robins Cloud filed the first lawsuit on behalf of a person sickened with Salmonella as a result of this Salmonella papaya outbreak.